Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Lileks Goes Over the Top

 

@jameslileks stormed out of the trenches in the July 6 issue of National Review on Dead Tree. If it does nothing else, his piece, Twinkling’s Canceled, Little Star, will get him the first slot in the train to the reeducation camp — or to that other camp. He finishes with a couple of uppercuts:

The accumulated accomplishments of humanity cast a bright light on their inability to accomplish anything except to accrue debt and tattoos, and they’ll feel better when all these reminders are pulled down.

They can’t do anything about the twinkling stars of old, but they can light enough fires to drown them out.

Published in General
This post was promoted to the Main Feed by a Ricochet Editor at the recommendation of Ricochet members. Like this post? Want to comment? Join Ricochet’s community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Get your first month free.

There are 24 comments.

Become a member to join the conversation. Or sign in if you're already a member.
  1. Sisyphus Coolidge
    Sisyphus Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    There are people so crushingly inadequate that they must destroy the world to hide their shame. 

    • #1
    • July 12, 2020, at 3:38 PM PDT
    • 14 likes
  2. Misthiocracy got drunk and Member
    Misthiocracy got drunk and Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    From the article:

    “Pity the person who has to find the problematic problems in “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.”

    Pfft! That’s too easy!

    It’s problematic because it’s silent on the issues of its own age, let alone today’s, and silence is violence. What good is making music except to teach and inspire the people?

    “But Misthios,” I hear you replying, “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star does teach and inspire. It teaches children to be inquisitive about the Universe around them!”

    Bah! Wasting time wondering about the nature of stars doesn’t put food in the bellies of the proletariat! Theoretical astronomy has always been a pastime of the bourgeoisie!

    • #2
    • July 12, 2020, at 3:39 PM PDT
    • 24 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  3. Richard Fulmer Member
    Richard Fulmer

    Sisyphus (hears Xi laughing) (View Comment):

    There are people so crushingly inadequate that they must destroy the world to hide their shame.

    This reminds me of one of my favorite quotes:

    Graffiti happens at the intersection of ambition and incompetence: people want to make their mark on the world, but have no other way to do it than literally making a mark on the world.
    Paul Graham

    • #3
    • July 12, 2020, at 3:44 PM PDT
    • 20 likes
  4. Sisyphus Coolidge
    Sisyphus Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Life in a modern newsroom has made James a neuron star of sarcastic anti-woke rage, super conducting facetious at faster than light speeds.

    I do think he’s on to something:

    Hence the sloppiness and inattention to detail. When they protest racism by defacing the statues of actual abolitionists, or spray insults on the World War II monument in D.C., you might conclude that their knowledge of history has the characteristics of a slug’s knowledge of celestial mechanics. To the rioters, bad things happened because of white people, and therefore all manifestations of white people in the past are complicit. The past is a charnel house of sin.

    If we can just get them fired up over statues of Communists and abortionists and terrorists and Friends’ stars, some good might still come of all this. Maybe commission statues of certain BLM and Antifa members just to watch the footage in our twilight years. 

    Stellar job, @jameslileks!

    • #4
    • July 12, 2020, at 3:58 PM PDT
    • 7 likes
  5. Unsk Member

    “you might conclude that their knowledge of history has the characteristics of a slug’s knowledge of celestial mechanics.”

    Wonderful.

    • #5
    • July 12, 2020, at 4:15 PM PDT
    • 7 likes
  6. Percival Thatcher
    Percival Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Misthiocracy got drunk and (View Comment):

    From the article:

    “Pity the person who has to find the problematic problems in “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.”

    Pfft! That’s too easy!

    It’s problematic because it’s silent on the issues of its own age, let alone today’s, and silence is violence. What good is making music except to teach and inspire the people?

    “But Misthios,” I hear you replying, “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star does teach and inspire. It teaches children to be inquisitive about the Universe around them!”

    Bah! Wasting time wondering about the nature of stars doesn’t put food in the bellies of the proletariat! Theoretical astronomy has always been a pastime of the bourgeoisie!

    Your brain is going to get stuck like that if you keep it up.

    • #6
    • July 12, 2020, at 4:21 PM PDT
    • 7 likes
  7. Richard Fulmer Member
    Richard Fulmer

    Here’s another of my favorite lines from James’ article:

     The very idea that we want “little” stars to engage in performative “twinkling” negates the life experience of massive gas giants like Betelgeuse.

    He’s like the anti-woke atom bomb. Drop him into any university and he’d have the whole faculty and student body cancelled within a week. No one could out-woke him.

    • #7
    • July 12, 2020, at 5:49 PM PDT
    • 10 likes
  8. 9thDistrictNeighbor Member

    Mozart. Mozart wrote the music. Is there anyone more privileged than a child prodigy who is now a dead white male?

    • #8
    • July 12, 2020, at 6:04 PM PDT
    • 12 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  9. Sisyphus Coolidge
    Sisyphus Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    9thDistrictNeighbor (View Comment):

    Mozart. Mozart wrote the music. Is there anyone more privileged than a child prodigy who is now a dead white male?

    I’m thinking the dead are categorically null privilege regardless of other factors. I have a list of candidates if experimentation is needed. 

    • #9
    • July 12, 2020, at 6:11 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  10. Richard Fulmer Member
    Richard Fulmer

    Sisyphus (hears Xi laughing) (View Comment):

    9thDistrictNeighbor (View Comment):

    Mozart. Mozart wrote the music. Is there anyone more privileged than a child prodigy who is now a dead white male?

    I’m thinking the dead are categorically null privilege regardless of other factors. I have a list of candidates if experimentation is needed.

    This proves your white fragility.

    • #10
    • July 12, 2020, at 6:15 PM PDT
    • 7 likes
  11. Richard Fulmer Member
    Richard Fulmer

    Richard Fulmer (View Comment):

    Sisyphus (hears Xi laughing) (View Comment):

    There are people so crushingly inadequate that they must destroy the world to hide their shame.

    This reminds me of one of my favorite quotes:

    Graffiti happens at the intersection of ambition and incompetence: people want to make their mark on the world, but have no other way to do it than literally making a mark on the world.
    Paul Graham

    Everyone on the Right should keep Paul Graham’s whole quote in their quiver:

    If you disagree with something, it’s easier to say ‘you suck’ than to figure out and explain exactly what you disagree with. You’re also safe that way from refutation. In this respect trolling is a lot like graffiti. Graffiti happens at the intersection of ambition and incompetence: people want to make their mark on the world, but have no other way to do it than literally making a mark on the world.

    • #11
    • July 12, 2020, at 6:20 PM PDT
    • 8 likes
  12. 9thDistrictNeighbor Member

    Sisyphus (hears Xi laughing) (View Comment):
    I’m thinking the dead are categorically null privilege regardless of other factors.

    Mozart Statue located at Mozartplatz in Salzburg. Statues and real estate. Privilege. Tear it down. Occupy the square.

    • #12
    • July 12, 2020, at 6:38 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  13. Sisyphus Coolidge
    Sisyphus Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    9thDistrictNeighbor (View Comment):

    Sisyphus (hears Xi laughing) (View Comment):
    I’m thinking the dead are categorically null privilege regardless of other factors.

    Mozart Statue located at Mozartplatz in Salzburg. Statues and real estate. Privilege. Tear it down. Occupy the square.

    If they are even afraid of the privilege of the dead, they are double plus ultra inadequate!

    • #13
    • July 12, 2020, at 6:41 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  14. Bishop Wash Member

    Sisyphus (hears Xi laughing) (View Comment):

    Life in a modern newsroom has made James a neuron star of sarcastic anti-woke rage, super conducting facetious at faster than light speeds.

    I do think he’s on to something:

    Hence the sloppiness and inattention to detail. When they protest racism by defacing the statues of actual abolitionists, or spray insults on the World War II monument in D.C., you might conclude that their knowledge of history has the characteristics of a slug’s knowledge of celestial mechanics. To the rioters, bad things happened because of white people, and therefore all manifestations of white people in the past are complicit. The past is a charnel house of sin.

    If we can just get them fired up over statues of Communists and abortionists and terrorists and Friends’ stars, some good might still come of all this. Maybe commission statues of certain BLM and Antifa members just to watch the footage in our twilight years.

    Stellar job, @jameslileks!

    A Stevie Ray Vaughn statue was vandalized with paint somewhere. Doubt it had anything more to do than it was a statue. 

    It would be interesting if in twenty years the “woke” culture fully embraces Rev. King’s message of judging by the content of your character and not the color of your skin and BLM advocates become the ones on the chopping block. Of course the types to embrace Rev. King probably wouldn’t embrace the French Revolution aspect of today’s cancel culture.

    • #14
    • July 12, 2020, at 6:42 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  15. Sisyphus Coolidge
    Sisyphus Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Have they gotten around to Forrest Gump yet? Cuz “stupid is as stupid does” seems to be emerging as a possible nuclear missile aimed at the heart of woke. If the dead have privilege, the fictional must be privilege WMDs!

    • #15
    • July 12, 2020, at 6:45 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  16. Dotorimuk Coolidge

    Bishop Wash (View Comment):

    Sisyphus (hears Xi laughing) (View Comment):

    Life in a modern newsroom has made James a neuron star of sarcastic anti-woke rage, super conducting facetious at faster than light speeds.

    I do think he’s on to something:

    Hence the sloppiness and inattention to detail. When they protest racism by defacing the statues of actual abolitionists, or spray insults on the World War II monument in D.C., you might conclude that their knowledge of history has the characteristics of a slug’s knowledge of celestial mechanics. To the rioters, bad things happened because of white people, and therefore all manifestations of white people in the past are complicit. The past is a charnel house of sin.

    If we can just get them fired up over statues of Communists and abortionists and terrorists and Friends’ stars, some good might still come of all this. Maybe commission statues of certain BLM and Antifa members just to watch the footage in our twilight years.

    Stellar job, @jameslileks!

    A Stevie Ray Vaughn statue was vandalized with paint somewhere. Doubt it had anything more to do than it was a statue.

    It would be interesting if in twenty years the “woke” culture fully embraces Rev. King’s message of judging by the content of your character and not the color of your skin and BLM advocates become the ones on the chopping block. Of course the types to embrace Rev. King probably wouldn’t embrace the French Revolution aspect of today’s cancel culture.

    The same MLK whose stellar public life contrasts with a seedy private life that would no doubt lead to his cancellation if he had been white.

     

     

    • #16
    • July 12, 2020, at 8:24 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  17. Percival Thatcher
    Percival Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Bishop Wash (View Comment):
    A Stevie Ray Vaughn statue was vandalized with paint somewhere. Doubt it had anything more to do than it was a statue. 

    Austin.

    • #17
    • July 12, 2020, at 8:51 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  18. James Lileks Contributor

    Thank you all very much. The kind words were appreciated & needed.

    • #18
    • July 12, 2020, at 9:27 PM PDT
    • 17 likes
  19. Hartmann von Aue Member

    James Lileks (View Comment):

    Thank you all very much. The kind words were appreciated & needed.

    Thanks for writing the piece. It was terrific. 

    • #19
    • July 13, 2020, at 4:37 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  20. Stad Thatcher

    James Lileks (View Comment):

    Thank you all very much. The kind words were appreciated & needed.

    “Athwart” is always great reading . . .

    • #20
    • July 13, 2020, at 5:09 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  21. Nerina Bellinger Member

    Masterful column, James. Oops. I probably shouldn’t use that word. Well done!

    • #21
    • July 13, 2020, at 8:11 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  22. Headedwest Coolidge

    James; wonderful column. You made me laugh, and that doesn’t happen much these days.

    I have to confess it was bitter laughter.

    • #22
    • July 13, 2020, at 8:17 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  23. Douglas Pratt Coolidge
    Douglas Pratt Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    First thing I read in each issue. Then I read it aloud to the family.

    In the culture war, James is the Barrett .50 sniper rifle. You won’t hear it coming, and it hits with devastating force.

    • #23
    • July 13, 2020, at 11:54 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  24. kedavis Member

    Douglas Pratt (View Comment):

    First thing I read in each issue. Then I read it aloud to the family.

    In the culture war, James is the Barrett .50 sniper rifle. You won’t hear it coming, and it hits with devastating force.

    I could post a photo I received of the results of a Barrett .50 on a suicide bomber, but I’m sure it couldn’t possibly be CoC compliant.

    I still enjoy looking at it, though.

    • #24
    • July 13, 2020, at 2:41 PM PDT
    • 1 like